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Photo Gifts: Dos and Don'ts

Image courtesy Kodak.

Not since the days of crumbly clay ash-trays  or whatever its politically correct grade-school replacement is  has it been more trendy to send gifts “from the heart.” A personal photo-themed gift is a great way to connect that special someone with a special moment. At their best, a photo gift should look like you put a lot of time and effort into it without having to, you know, put all that much time and effort into it. Here are some tips for making a great photo-themed gift.

Do: Think About It. Some products, like mugs, require that you put a lot of thought into what photo you want to use. But other products, like calendars or photo books can get a little daunting – you’ll be choosing from potentially dozens of pictures. To make that process easier, many online services and software programs can “auto-fill” your photos with photos it pulls from a folder. At a minimum you should pre-screen the photos in a folder you want to use before you let a program automatically add those pics to a photo book page. If you’re anything like the average photographer, not every image you take at a specific event or that end up in a single folder in your computer, will be stellar. Be sure you carefully inspect each photo you want to use, even if you later let software automatically place the photos throughout a book.

Don’t: Wait until the last minute. Unlike ties and fruitcakes, some photo-themed gifts like mugs, photobooks and calendars will require a few days to create and a few more days to ship – whether you order them online or in store. Allow a good 15 days between when you placed your order and when you expect to receive the gift. Be sure to read the fine print on any site carefully, as ship times change during a holiday crunch. If you choose a standard shipping option that relies on the U.S. postal service during the holidays, understand there could be delays.

Don’t Always Trust Your Eyes: When it comes to what your photos look like, what you see on your computer monitor is not always what you get in the form of a finished product – be it a print, a photo book, a mug or other creation. Your monitor doesn’t always display accurate colors, so be wary about applying any kind of aggressive photo-editing when creating a project using an online service. A photo could look more in need of “color correction” than it actually is.

Don’t Limit Yourself: The beauty of digital photography is that it puts your entire digital life at your finger tips. Don’t just settle for the photos you snapped this year. Treat all your images as potentially fair game for a gift. If you’re creating a photo gift of a new baby, why not throw in an old photo or two of when you were a baby  to prove you were just as cute . If you’re looking for an excuse to scan in some old family photos  or have someone else do it , go for it.

Image courtesy Ceiva

Do Think Beyond the Print: These days, your photos are more versatile than ever. While printed photos can be powerful, there are nearly as many ways to share and gift digital images as well. If you’re considering a photo-themed gift for someone a bit more tech savvy, think beyond the print. A digital photo frame is an excellent way to display digital images. You can add your own personal touch by pre-loading it with photos. Or, why not purchase online photo protection for someone’s own digital photo collection. Online back-up services will securely store their images in the event of a hard drive crash  which will happen, eventually. It may not be glamorous, but it is thoughtful. And better than an ash tray.

Author:Greg Scoblete

Greg Scoblete is the editor of Your Digital Life. He has been covering the photographic world for the past ten years for a variety of publications including PDN, This Week in Consumer Electronics and Digital Photographer.